South Africa

Verstappen claims first pole in Monaco

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Max Verstappen claimed pole for the Monaco Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso keeping the Red Bull world champion company on the front row after qualifying on Saturday.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s race on the second row alongside the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.

“You have to go all out and risk it all,” said Verstappen.

“I knew I was behind, I’m very happy to be on pole for the first time here.”

The session was red-flagged when Sergio Perez smashed his Red Bull into a wall leaving last year’s winner at the rear of the grid.

With overtaking at a premium on the narrow twisting streets of the Principality Perez’s misfortune could prove costly for his title challenge with the Mexican 14 points adrift of Verstappen going into this sixth race of the season.

Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari posted the fifth fastest time to occupy the third row with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Ocon’s Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly, George Russell of Mercedes, Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and McLaren’s Lando Norris completed the top 10.